News: Jay-Z Knocks The Hustle, Secret $4 Mil Champagne Scam Exposed

Wednesday, Mar 23, 2011 12:00PM

Written by Biz Jones

Rap mogul Jay-Z is reportedly being linked to an under-the-table scam involving champagne brand Armand de Brignac.

According to a report by published by The Atlantic, Jay is banking up to $4 million with the company, yet does not publicly claim any association to the brand and its owners.

Empire author Zack O'Malley Greenburg quotes wine industry experts who vehemently bash Armand. Greenburg also claims that Armand is identical to the drastically cheaper Antique Gold, a brand distributed by Armand's parent company, Cattier, until 2006 -- right as Armand came on the market. The biggest takeaway: Greenburg's anonymous sources claim that, despite publicly stating he has no financial ties to Armand, Jay secretly makes up to $4 million a year for his promotional work. Does it really matter that Jay-Z is getting paid for an under-the-radar sponsorship deal? ... So did he consciously develop an alternative, more subtle promotional deal? If the details of his deal with Armand are true, he's basically knowingly pushing crappy Champagne. In every other aspect, Jay-Z's taste is generally perceived as impeccable. That he's compromising that element of his persona to squeeze out a few extra mill a year feels a bit icky. (New York Mag)

Following the report, Atlantic took down their piece on Jay/Armand.

Yesterday The Atlantic ran an excerpt from a book on Jay-Z that shows the rapper in some rather unflattering light. Now that article is nowhere to be found (here's a reposting of it). The author, Zack O'Malley Greenburg, writes that Jay is receiving millions per year for endorsing a sparkling wine called Armand de Brignac. The problem is that everyone affiliated with the wine - as well as Jay-Z - denies any business ties. As you can see, if authorities ever confirm the ties between Jay-Z and Armand, they will definitely try to knock the hustle. Which leads FishbowlNY to wonder: Did Jay have his people pressure The Atlantic to pull the piece? As of now, the link to The Atlantic is still dead. The only evidence is a tweet from the magazine yesterday afternoon, saying the piece would reappear after "further edits." We did find two major typos in the article - whole quotes are repeated twice - but if that's all it was, you'd think the piece would be back up quickly. (Media Bistro)

Armand is reportedly made and based out of France.

Armand de Brignac is produced by Armand de Brignac Champagne of Reims, France. The Cattier family has owned and cultivated land in the Champagne region's Montagne de Reims Terroir since 1763, and coined the Armand de Brignac name in the 1950s. In our search for a Champagne that would meet our standards for a finer luxury Champagne, we chose the Cattier house because of their history and reputation for producing exquisite Champagne. M. Cattier was able to create a blend of grapes that fit what we had sought. Armand de Brignac bottles are filled, corked, and cultivated by hand by our caretakers throughout the aging process. The Armand de Brignac cellars are considered the deepest in the Reims Terroir. (Wine)

In 2006, Jay explained why he would no longer support or endorse luxury champagne company Cristal.

The champagne that was once the libation of choice for wealthy hip-hop stars will no longer be served at Jay-Z's 40/40 Club. The hip-hop mogul/club owner says he was highly offended by Cristal Champagne owner Frederic Rouzaud's comments to The Economist in which Rouzaud called the shout-outs rappers give to his company's beverage in their music "unwelcome." "It has come to my attention that the managing director of Cristal, Frederic Rouzaud, views the 'hip-hop' culture as 'unwelcome attention,'" Jay said in a statement. "I view his comments as racist and will no longer support any of his products through any of my various brands, including the 40/40 Club, nor in my personal life." Jay has also asked the hip hop community to support him in boycotting the pricey beverage (SPIN)

Check out some recent Jay-Z footage down below:

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